Coast, Western and Nyanza regions are the biggest losers in new major road construction projects implemented under the Jubilee government, a Nation Newsplex review of roads data shows.
Of the 64 major roads projects listed in the Economic Surveys from 2014 to 2016 as completed or in progress in the first three fiscal years of the Jubilee administration (2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016), only two are in Coast region, while six are in Western and Nyanza each.
One of the roads being built at the Coast is the 35km long Kilifi-Kaloleni road which has been under construction since July 2012 and was expected to take two years to complete. According to a medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) report by Treasury, the road, which is to cost an estimated Sh2.3 billion was 86 per cent complete by the end of the fiscal year 2015/2016.
SLIGHTLY BETTER THAN COAST
The other road in the region is Mwatate – Taveta Road that has been under construction since 2011. The original contractor was terminated due to what the government called non- performance, and early last year a new contractor started work on the stalled project. When the two projects are complete, 133km of road will have been built at the Coast at an estimated cost of Sh9.6 billion.
Western only fares slight better than the Coast, with six major road projects ongoing or complete. The roads cumulatively cover 165 km, which is about 20 per cent more than the distance of the Coast roads. The roads will cost Sh9.7 billion.
Roads ongoing in Western from 2013 to 2016 include the 37km Ejinja – Bumala road that was 99 per cent complete and the 7.5km Kimilili - Misikhu Road that was 95 per cent done by the end of the fiscal year 2015/2016, according to the National Treasury. Only one of the roads in Western was initiated by the Jubilee administration.
Coming in third from the rear is Nyanza, with six roads under construction or completed over the same period covering 258km, one third longer than the roads in Western, at a cost of Sh19.6 billion, double Western’s and Coast’s.
INCREASED 23 PER CENT
Among the major roads projects completed or ongoing in the region is the 25km Kamagambo - Nyasembe – Mogonga road that was completed in the 2014/2015 financial year at a cost of Sh1.7 billion. Started in 2012, it is one of the few major roads projects in recent years that was completed within the allocated timeframe.
Other roads in the region that are complete or at least 80 per cent or more complete by the end of the 2015/2016 financial year were the 42km Homa Bay-Mbita , 67km Londiani- Fortenan-Muhoroni, 26km Siaya – Ruambwa, 38km Chebilat-Ikonge-Chabera, and Masara-Suna-Kehancha and reinstatement of Awendo - Mariwa roads. All these road projects in Nyanza were approved by the coalition government.
Between July 2013 and July 2015 there was an increase of road (all classes) under bitumen (tarmacked) from 11,300 km to 13,900km an increase of 23 per cent, according to the Economic Survey 2016.
Road under earth or gravel increased from 52,400km in 2013 to 65,600km an increase of 13,200km. Over the same period the length of trunk and major roads (class A, B and C) increased from 7,900km to 8,200km, an increase of 300km.
During his last State of the Nation address in Parliament before the General Election, President Kenyatta said that on his watch 1,950 kilometres of new roads have been completed, with another 7,000km under different phases of construction and the Treasury Secretary repeated the same figures during his 2017 Budget speech.
MIGHT NOT BE COMPLETED
While the number they quoted as complete is lower than the 2,700km constructed to Bitumen standard according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) what they say is currently under construction (7,000) can only be true if roads under gravel and earth are included.
Since independence, Kenya has only managed to construct 13,900km bitumen standard (tarmacked) roads, which is double what the two officials say is currently under construction.
About 70 per cent of the 64 major roads under construction between 2013 and 2016 were completed way past the deadline stipulated in the contract, or are still behind schedule.
An example is the Rumuruti – Maralal Road road in the Rift Valley, which according to a MTEF report by the National Treasury was started in June 2013. By the 2015/2016 financial year, only six per cent of the 35km road had been constructed.
Another is the 25km Mairi – Makombok road in Central which started in early 2013. Only 14 per cent had been built by the end of the 2015/2016 financial year. In other words, going by past experience some of the roads currently under construction might not be completed by the time the Kenyatta administration ends.
LANET - ELEMENTAITA
With 17 major road projects in the period under review, Rift Valley region takes the cake. When all the projects are completed, 414km of road, or triple the distance covered by the projects in the Coast, will have been constructed in the region at a cost of Sh30.3 billion. That amount is more than three times what will be spent in each of the Coast and Western regions.
According to Treasury reports, among the roads completed in the 2014/2015fiscal year is the Lanet Elementaita - Mau Narok Road which cost more than Sh1.1 billion and was started in February 2010.
Completed in the following financial year was the 43km Cheborge-Roret-Kebenet-Siqowet road that was started in July 2011. Three of the road projects in the region were launched in the Jubilee administration
While North Eastern had only five major road projects completed or ongoing in the period under review, the length of the roads, 381km, is second to those built in Rift Valley, but the roads will cost about Sh40.3 billion, the largest amount spent in a region.
Among the road projects completed in Northeastern from 2013-2016 were the 120.6km Merille River – Marsabit and the 122km Marsabit – Turbi. All the roads built in the region were started between 2011 and January 2013.
NINE MAJOR ROAD PROJECTS
Central region, which had 11 major roads projects in the period under review, will be placed third in terms of km of road constructed when all the projects are completed, 343km. They will cost of Sh22.4 billion.
Roads completed in Central include the 22km Ngorongo –Githunguri at a cost of Sh1.3 billion and the 72.5km Gatugi-jn D430, (E552) Iria-ini, Mugaa-ini-Witima-(Water Treatment Kiinu-Ngaru -Konyu-Mucharage-Kairo Nyamari-Kihuri, Gikundo-Tambaya, JN Gichiche-Kiganjo Kariki-JN road.
Eastern is placed fourth in terms of km of road to be built, 338km. The construction will cost about Sh20.8 billion. But only a third of that length built and a quarter of the money spent will be in lower Eastern region.
Among the roads completed in the Eastern by the 2015/2016 financial year is the 43km Kimutwa – Makutano – Kikima – Tawa that cost Sh1.9 billion. Four of the nine major road projects were started by the President Kenyatta’s government.
SMALL LOCAL CONTRACTORS
Nairobi is interesting because it has eight major road projects completed or under construction, but they cover the least distance at 82km and are the second most costly at Sh33.9 billion.
It costs more to build roads in Nairobi because of the cost of compensating land owners through whose property the roads pass. In 2015 the Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Musonik said the cost of building roads had doubled because of paying compensation to land owners.
A report from the Commission of Revenue Allocation found that the cost of one-kilometre two-lane wide road varied between Sh62 million in Eldoret and Sh426 million in Nairobi. The roads were seven times more expensive in the capital. Earthworks and concrete drive much of the cost in road building.
Nation Newsplexalso focused on the status of on-going Roads 2000 Programme, The main objective of the programme is to improve rural roads and train small local contractors in the routine maintenance of roads using labour-based methods.
So far 15 counties in four regions have benefited from the project. They include Central where five counties had completed 349km of road at a cost of Sh2.2 billion and four counties in Western that has done 61.4km at a cost of Sh327 million.
In Rift Valley one county had completed 24km at a cost of Sh389 million while projects were earmarked in five counties in Eastern region but none had started by the end of 2015.
Newsplex also calculated the new road length per 1,000 km2 and found that the biggest beneficiary was Nairobi followed by Central, Western, Nyanza, North Eastern, Eastern and Rift Valley. Even after factoring in area, Coast still led from the rear.
Nairobi is Kenya’s smallest region at 696km and the second smallest is Western at 7,400 km2. Rift Valley is the largest at 182,505 km2. Eastern province is the second largest at 140,699km2 followed by Northeastern (127,358 km2)), Coast (79,686km2), Central (13,191km2) and Nyanza (12,477 km2).
CREDIT FOR PROJECTS
The expenditure on roads for projects underway in the first two fiscal years of the Jubilee Government was Sh168.3 billion which was a 16 per cent drop from the Sh200.4 billion the Coalition government spent in its last two fiscal years. However, in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, the expenditure increased by more than 50 per cent to Sh124.5 billion from Sh80.6 billion the previous year.
Last December former Prime Minister and current ODM leader Raila Odinga said President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto should stop taking credit for projects initiated during the Grand Coalition Government.
Newsplex fact checked his claim against the contract start dates and found that more than 75 per cent of the projected were planned or had started by the final year of the coalition government. But in almost 10 per cent of those earmarked projects, no construction had not started at all by the end of the final Coalition Government fiscal year 2012/2013.
In its manifesto the Jubilee Government’s target was to have 10,000 kilometres of new paved roads by the end of the financial year 2015/2016. However, they were 7,300km off their target.